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Caesar: Diversity In The Spotlight

Is this the end of the inter-self and the beginning of a greater recognition of the contribution of diversity in cinema? The question deserves to be asked when the place of black actors had been raised, in particular, by Aïssa Maïga, French actress of Senegalese-Malian origin but also one of the authors of the book. Black is not my job. Anyway, the Caesars, whose 46e ceremony took place Friday evening at the Olympia with a strict health protocol, under the chairmanship of the Franco-Moroccan actor Roschdy Zem, seem to be taking action.

Jean-Pascal Zadi and Fathia Youssouf top prospects

Main actors of Simply black, a comedy against racist clichés, and Cute by Maïmouna Doucouré, a film about adolescence in Paris, between traditions, Parisian culture and social networks, Jean-Pascal Zadi and Fathia Youssouf were crowned best hopes.

Jean-Pascal Zadi, best male newcomer, is also the author and director, with John Wax, of Simply black. This cinematographic UFO, which, according to him, speaks “above all of humanity”, has hit the screens between the two confinements. “Each generation must find its mission, accomplish it or betray it”, declared Jean-Pascal Zadi receiving his prize, quoting the thinker of post-colonialism Frantz Fanon.

Fathia Youssouf, best female hope, crowned at only 14 years old, is the main figure of Cute, the film by Maïmouna Doucouré already noticed and distinguished throughout its career.

Sami Bouajila, best actor

Sami Bouajila, awarded Friday of the César for best actor for his role of torn father in A son, has managed to get out of the roles of “beur” thanks to auteur cinema. “I often have the impression that roles choose us, more than we choose them,” said the actor, receiving his prize from the hands of Fanny Ardant. With a series of major roles for thirty years, he has won the recognition of his peers: interpretation prize at Cannes for Native by Rachid Bouchareb (2006), César for Best Supporting Actor for Witnesses by André Téchiné (2007), and recently a new distinction as best actor in a selection of the Venice Film Festival for A son. “I have never felt in the shoes of the service beur. These are roles that are part of me. It took me twenty years to get rid of all labels, not to claim one today, ”he confided to AFP in 2011 for the release ofOmar killed me. “I forbid myself to become the spokesperson for a community: I am first and foremost an actor. ”

Bouajila: a journey that is not always easy

Born on May 12, 1966 in Grenoble to Tunisian immigrant parents, the young Sami discovered the cinema thanks to his father. This house painter took his two sons, “in a itchy costume”, to discover American westerns, the Bruce Lees. After a sport-study swimming, from which he draws his long and slender musculature, Sami Bouajila passes a CAP of turner without conviction. He will be a conscientious objector in Grenoble. Then ended up finding his way to the theater, “a little by chance”.

“On the set, I knew I was in my place, that it was a place where you had to express yourself, build yourself, grow, decompartmentalize, relax. It was through the theater that I felt it the most ”, he confided to the Inrocks. He joined the Conservatory of Grenoble then the Comédie de Saint-Étienne, one of the first national drama centers where he worked closely with professionals. He learns Shakespeare, Marivaux and Koltès.

Contacted by an agent in Paris, he landed his first role in 1991 and became the resourceful commuter of The money by Philippe Galland. In Paris, he is unhappy and claims to suffer from facial crime while his friends break through. “The camera is radical, it films everything. If you convey frustration, bitterness, it emerges, ”he explained to Telerama. Bye-Bye (1995) by Karim Dridi opens doors for him. He tries a Hollywood swerve in Curfew (1998) by Edward Zwick with Denzel Washington where he camps… a Palestinian terrorist. “It was great to be in a Hollywood production but it was a hiatus. To prolong it, it would have been necessary to bump into many clichés. I was incapable of it ”, he confessed to Telerama.

Bouajila: great encounters to open the horizon

He then made great encounters: Arnaud Desplechin (Leo, playing “In the company of men”), Abdellatif Kechiche (Blame it on Voltaire), Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau who offered him his first role as a solar homosexual in search of the father in Funny Felix. And especially André Téchiné with Witnesses. He plays Mehdi, a complex character who attempts the homosexual adventure in the midst of the onset of AIDS. Gradually, everything became more obvious to this father of two children. “I had the impression in what I was offered to no longer be limited to my origins, I was able to interpret roles like those ofNative orOmar killed me, really focusing on the psychology of the characters. “Sami is really an exceptional actor”, greeted his friend Roschdy Zem who directed him in Omar killed me. “There is his talent and also this femininity that he fully assumes. ”

For the Césars, a flagship institution of French cinema for a long time undermined by accusations of self-esteem and opacity, which ended up wrecking it last year during the coronation of Roman Polanski, these distinctions from Jean-Pascal Are Zadi, Fathia Youssouf and Sami Bouajila opening a new era beyond the symbolic?

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